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Ann Med. 2010 Sep;42(6):404-15. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2010.499134.

Circadian regulation of cell cycle: Molecular connections between aging and the circadian clock.

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Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences and Center for Gene Regulation in Health and Diseases, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH 44143, USA.


The circadian clock generates oscillations in physiology and behavior, known as circadian rhythms. Links between the circadian clock genes Periods, Bmal1, and Cryptochromes and aging and cancer are emerging. Circadian clock gene expression is changed in human pathologies, and transgenic mice with mutations in clock genes develop cancer and premature aging. Control of genome integrity and cell proliferation play key roles in the development of age-associated pathologies and carcinogenesis. Here, we review recent data on the connection between the circadian clock and control of the cell cycle. The circadian clock regulates the activity and expression of several critical cell cycle and cell cycle check-point-related proteins, and in turn cell cycle-associated proteins regulate circadian clock proteins. DNA damage can reset the circadian clock, which provides a molecular mechanism for reciprocal regulation between the circadian clock and the cell cycle. This circadian clock-dependent control of cell proliferation, together with other known physiological functions of the circadian clock such as the control of metabolism, oxidative and genotoxic stress response, and DNA repair, opens new horizons for understanding the mechanisms behind aging and carcinogenesis.

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